Blog: Engineering Hiring Trends in 2016 and Beyond

Engineering Hiring Trends in 2016 and Beyond

Throughout 2016, the national unemployment rate across the United States has hovered around five percent. However, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics explained in their Employment Situation Report at the start of the year, the rate for engineers is nearly zero. This profession ranks in the top ten careers with a current talent shortage. Using electrical engineers as an example, there is only one candidate to fill every seventeen openings.

While the demand for software and related engineering disciplines is especially notable in Silicon Valley, other urban centers like New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago have very high demand as well. Additionally, the shortage of engineering talent across a wide range of practices can be seen throughout most of the United States.

How Much Are Engineers Being Paid?

The BLS reports that the average salary for an agricultural engineer is $71,730. Beyond that, the standard range for engineering talent is between $80,000 and $130,000. At the bottom of that range are industrial, civil, mechanical, biomedical and materials engineers. Moving into the $90,000+ range and beyond are mining, geological, marine, electrical, chemical, nuclear and computer hardware engineers.

In high-demand areas like Silicon Valley, total compensation can quickly rise to $170,000 and move towards the $300,000 range in a relatively short amount of time based on specialized expertise. Although companies outside of those concentrated areas won't have to worry about competing for talent at that expensive scale, most engineers understand their demand and baseline value. That's why organizations that fail to move quickly on hiring qualified candidates or building a pipeline of potential talent will struggle to fill their open roles.

Will the Demand for Engineers Continue?

With certain types of jobs, there's a short spike in demand, followed by a leveling out or even a surplus. But because the already steep demand for engineers is projected to grow in coming years, organizations need to figure out a hiring strategy that works now. Statistics peg the growth of engineering jobs at 11% through 2023. That represents the addition of just under 250,000 new jobs for engineers. Civil engineers are at the top of that growth list, followed by mechanical, architectural and industrial engineers.

For more information on this topic, read our previous blog post on understanding what engineers want and how to hire the best ones. The post goes into detail about the traits of the best engineers and provides a number of best hiring practices for this type of position.

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